So have you ever noticed the wallpaper in our powder room? No? Neither had we–until Sunday.
That’s right. We have wallpaper in our powder room. I finally found a paint color that I was happy with for the powder room (Benjamin Moore’s Quiet Moments), and I promptly taped up the powder room on Sunday in order to paint. It’s a small room–I can almost reach the ceiling at the highest point, so trust me, it’s small–when I noticed this funny spot under the sink. The wall was bubbling. I immediately thought water damage, but running my hand over it revealed something different.
Wallpaper. The wallpaper was pulling away from the wall.
Since it was under the sink, we never noticed it, and our inspector didn’t mention it if he saw it. So, B and I had a rather short conversation that went something like this:
A: What do you want to do? We can either paint over it and ignore it, or we can tear it all down, sand the wall, and then paint.
B: I think we know what we need to do.
A: Take it down.
So, I did some reading on taking down wallpaper. The deal basically is that you have three options: 1) You can use a sponge and spray bottle to wet the wall with water and peel away the paper and hope it comes off easily, 2) You can buy some products at a home store that help loosen the glue and then peel it off, or 3) You can rent a steamer and take it off that way. We went for the cheap option since the paper was already pretty loose from the look of it, and got out an unused spray bottle and sponge and went to town via the water method (read: free), one little section at a time.
I’m not going to lie, that first little piece I peeled away was frightening. I mean, you’re not supposed to rip your wall. I’ll say it–I felt a little daring. And scared. I mean, what if I messed it up?
But the paper came off really easily for the most part. It peeled away like big swaths of sunburned skin peeling off a back. Okay, that’s kinda gross, but it really reminded me of peeling a sunburn, and I’ve got tons of practice at that, being the pale person that I am.
Scout even got in on the action, helping out:
So after a few solid hours of work, we’ve ended up almost completely done peeling the paper off. I’d say around 90%. After this, we have to sand the wall smooth to remove the residual glue, and then putty some holes that need to be fixed, and then sand that smooth. Then we’ll be able to paint.
Curious what the original wallpaper looked like?
We figure it must be original to the house, so it’s around 14 years old. It looks like the builder primed the wall and then put up the wallpaper, and then the previous owners we bought from painted right over it (which you’re not supposed to do, I hear). There were some spots, like behind the toilet and mirror, that were unpainted, so we could see what the original paper looked like. Below is an in-progress shot; we’re a lot further along than this now (the wallpaper is basically gone except for around the edges), but it gives you an idea.
This is not what I pictured myself doing when we bought this place. I thought: maybe some paint, maybe screen in the porch, maybe pay some people to refinish the floors…Maybe we’d stretch ourselves and do some tiling, but that would be the extend of it.
Look at us, growing already 😉